The Willbarger Approach Exercise

Steps for the Willbarger Brushing Exercise

  1. Hold the brush in a horizontal direction.
  2. Brushing should involve quick, long strokes.
  3. Brush each arm, leg, back, buttocks, palms of hands and soles of feet – starting at the top of each and working your way down. Brush each limb or area 10 times, avoid repeated strokes on the same section of skin.
  4. After brushing is completed perform compressions – 10 quick presses with the hand as follows:
    • Down onto the top of shoulders
    • Into the side of shoulders
    • Into the elbows
    • Into the wrists
    • Into the fingers
    • Into the hips
    • Into the knees
    • Into the ankles

Precautions when performing the Willbarger Approach

  • Do not brush over the spine.
  • Do not brush the stomach, face or head. Do not brush over skin lesions or rashes.
  • Do not discontinue this home exercise program technique sooner than recommended by the therapy team. It is important that it be continued for the entire recommended timeframe.
  • Do not spend too much time in the same area that the skin turns red.
  • Do not use the brushing technique on children younger than 2 months old.
If you have questions or concerns, please contact your child’s occupational therapist.

Published on: 9/3/2020

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